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Book Review: Hearts on Hold by Charish Reid

Carina Press
Published Feb 3rd, 2020

Professor Victoria Reese knows an uphill battle when she sees one. Convincing her narrow-minded colleagues at the elite Pembroke University to back a partnership with the local library is a fight she saw coming and already has a plan for. What she didn’t see coming? The wildly hot librarian who makes it clear books aren’t the only thing he’d like to handle.

When a tightly wound, sexy-as-hell professor proposes a partnership between his library and her university, children’s department head John Donovan is all for it. He knows his tattoos and easygoing attitude aren’t quite what she expected, but the unmistakable heat between them is difficult to resist.

And then there’s the intriguing late fee on her record. For the Duke’s Convenience… A late fee and a sexy romance novel? There’s more to Dr. Reese than she’s letting on.

John might like to tease her about her late fee, but when he teases her in other ways, Victoria is helpless to resist. Mixing business with pleasure—and oh, it is pleasure—always comes with risks, but maybe a little casual fun between the sheets is just what Victoria needs.- Goodreads

I don’ know how else to describe this book other than one of the sweetest romances I have read thus far. It was adorable from beginning to end. I love the way it builds. I love the fact that John knew what he wanted but at the same time was comfortable enough to let Victoria come to the point he was at. She was frustrating to read. It was like talking with the smartest dumb person in the room. Not only does she need therapy but she also needs to learning how to relax (which thankfully she does a bit in this book).

But I liked Victoria because I was able to relate to her and her mask in the workplace. For some people they don’t use it/need it but others such as myself cannot be the same person inside of the office as they are outside. It was refreshing to see that I am not alone in this (I know I’m not but it was nice to read).

The author touches about the topic I mentioned above as well as ADHD, being a teenager and being Black. I would have liked to see more times when Victoria was herself. I felt that she was herself around John but she wasn’t her complete self. When she was with her friends their interactions are we comfortable. What I mean to say is  she interacted with other Black females in what appeared to be her real self. Do not get me wrong. Friends are going to see a different side of you than your lover is and that is fine. But it felt like she was wearing a mask with John even at the end.

There was something missing to connect her and John but I am not exactly sure if I can word it right.

But other than that, the author must have known that I have a thing for Vikings because John was *insert chef’s kiss*

Overall,

I liked this book a lot.

4 Pickles

Book Review: Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue

Self-Published
November 8th 2019
104 Pages

Bailey Thorne doesn’t hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school…and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She’s had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he’s left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten–and she’s the teacher. It’s going to be a very long school year.

Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast…and love is the most uncertain thing.

It was the elevator’s fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It’s his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she’s caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there’s a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can’t seem to walk away first. – Goodreads

I love everything about this cover. It is so fitting once you read the book. It is breath-taking in a way that you never see covers like this. And who ever the illustrator is fantastic job.

Now to the book. Its a novella and it is a well written novella that when I was finished I didn’t feel that I need more or questions needed to be answered. It flowed well, consistently and most importantly it was engaging.

Bailey was everything. I loved her the moment she started speaking. She was unapologetically her. She wasn’t bitter, she was energetic, smart and pure. I liked Jake too but not as much as I loved Bailey.

The novella moves fast but not so fast that you feel that the author is rushing or adding a lot of fillers. The romance is believable and at some points comical. Bailey and and Jake give their all into each other, unknowingly and for Jake, sometimes unwillingly. The lust was there and they sure as heck made sure that each other knew it was there but from the beginning there was something more. There was a caring that was unspoken but definitely felt.

It was written clearly with a beginning, middle, end in a form of consistency that is hard to find in novellas (not rolling off on a tangent).

I loved this novella. It was cute, genuine and packed a lot of punch. There was nothing more or less, I wanted. And even though it is a novella, I would say that this is a filler read i.e. books you read in-between larger books, because this book stayed on my mind for days. I cannot wait to read more from this author.

Overall,

4 Pickles

The Write Reads Book Tour: A Different Time by Michael K. Hill

YAY! Today is my stop on this massive and amazing The Write Reads Book Tour!!

Tangent Press
Published July 2nd 2019
200 Pages

Keith Nolan falls in love with a remarkable young woman from the past, talking to him on a home video she recorded in 1989.

To keep their conversation going, he must find more of her tapes—while forces work against them both, and time is running out.- Goodreads

The first thing that came to mind, once I finished reading this book, was how beautiful it was. From beginning to end, I had a overwhelming feeling of nostalgia and that was because this story reminded me of one of my favorite movies called the Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves.

Side Note: I love me some Keanu Reeves and will watch/support almost anything he does.

But this nostalgia had me on the edge of my seat. It was a form of rush because the story is dripping in romance and the race against time.

A Different Time is a simple story. I loved every bit of it. Keith is 22 when he finds the video and at and first I was like hmm this isn’t genuine at all and he is just smitten and wants some excitement in his life. But as the story continues I change my tune. His heart is coming from a good place and as a reader you feel that, so if you pick up this book give it a chance.

The pace of the novel is a bit slow, so if you looking for face action race against the clock speed style (see what I did there) this isn’t exactly it. This book hits you on an emotional level about true love, destiny and what you are willing to do for it.

What stood out to me, although a simple story, was the twist and the ending. It was not something I saw coming nor was expecting but it was a slow build getting there. I would recommend this book. Its light, refreshing and romantic.

Also that cover though!! *heart eyes*

4 Pickles

Book Review: Wonder by Christina C. Jones

Warm Hues Creative
Published Jan 22nd 2019
238 Pages

It all came down to me. 

The one who followed the rules, never went looking for trouble – I kept to myself. I just wanted to take care of my family. To not constantly look over my shoulder, worried about the things that went bump in the night. 

I just wanted to survive. 

But that wasn’t meant to be. 

As luck – or fate, or something – would have it, the trouble found me. 

I followed a rabbit through the wreckage of a half-ruined world to get back what was mine, and wound up at the end of it. 

In Wonderland. 

But there’s nothing magical about it. – Goodreads

Now the summary you see above gives you vibes of a cliche story about Alice in Wonderland in a post apocalyptic world. This book is far from a cliche and one of the best Alice in Wonderland retellings I have read in a very long time.

Let’s start with the obvious. How did the author incorporate the classic story into her own? She did it without sucking the life out of her own story. There are a lot of subtle things from the original story that if you aren’t fully familiar with, you will not get it.

For instance, Alice is a woman named Aly (Alyson), the Mad Hatter is a man named Mad (Maddox), Chester is a woman named Ches (Franchesca) and the Queen is a woman named Ruby.

Are there other references to Alice in Wonderland, yes there are but the names didn’t click for me, minus Aly, until after I finished the book and began to rethink the book. And when they did click, I couldn’t stop smiling. I love when authors do little things like this because they turn out to big things.

The incorporation of Alice in Wonderland to the author’s own story was tastefully done. The author stayed true to the story she wanted to tell by adding elements from Alice in Wonderland that enhance what she wanted to portray as opposed to drowning you in  scenes you are familiar with. Alice in Wonderland was what caught my attention to read the book but it wasn’t why I kept reading.

What really blew me away were the characters. Let me first off start by saying, I loved Aly and Mad together. Their attraction for each other grew into something and I was all for it. They were real with each and understanding and the passion they had for each other was on a omg level that we can only strive for in our life lol

I also loved the fact that they remained two individual people coming together as opposed to being Aly and Mad all the time; that whole smothering thing can be super annoying to read.

But what stole the show was Ches & Ruby. They were two of the best women I have read in a very very long time. For the first time ever, I was rooting for the Queen. Ruby is badass and I was so ready to hate her. I was waiting for her to mess up, to ruin everything but at the end of the day I wanted to be her friend.

In regards to Ches, I liked her but like Chester the Cat, she was a complicated soul. I was hoping that the author would give more details about Ches because the author was going around her back story. It wasn’t until the end that I was like OH! Things were implied and even at the end they weren’t bluntly stated and you know what? I am alright with that. Again, this was tastefully done.

The story is told in Aly’s point of view as well as Mad’s. I wouldn’t have enjoyed it any other way. I literally can go on and on about this book, so if you read it and want to chat about it let me know because I am in love.

5 Pickles. 

Book Review: Beast by Parker Kingston

Self Published
Published Aug. 17th 2018
476 Pages

Aasim Daniels had a perfect life. Money, a family that he loved, a reputation that opened doors for him wherever he went, and a long-time girlfriend that he was intent on marrying. That all changed when an unforeseen betrayal and dark turn of events left him heartbroken and fighting for his life. Hell-bent on revenge, Aasim finds himself on a quest that leads him to new surroundings and right into the unexpected path of a curly-haired beauty he can’t seem to shake. 

After her ex-boyfriend Gabriel betrays her in the most unimaginable way, Reygan Haynes is done with love. Her only focus is putting the pieces of her shattered life back together and fighting with herself to resist the pull of Gabriel’s advances and demands of reconciliation. Just when she’s convinced that she has it all together, a random encounter between her father and handsome yet scarred stranger flips her entire world upside down and threatens to destroy everything that she holds dear. 

Gabriel Brown wants what he wants when he wants, and doesn’t care how he gets it. Realizing that he made the biggest mistake of his life letting Reygan get away, he’ll stop at nothing to get her back. Already on edge due to his crumbling position in the streets, Reygan’s sudden disappearance causes him to completely unravel, as he’ll stop at nothing to get her back. Not even murder.- Goodreads

Fairly tales are my thing. Retellings are my thing. Make it an urban novel, written by a Black woman and I am all over it.

I was extremely skeptical when I began reading this book. I am not big person that enjoys saying or reading curses, especially the N word. The author doesn’t shy away from that type of language within this book and that was off-putting for me. When I began reading, I wasn’t too sure how she was going to tie the traditional fairy tale to this modern version. When everything started coming together it was great. The tie in was smooth and believable in the modern sense. It satisfied my requirements for a fairy tale retelling.

But here was my issue. Reygan screamed idiot to me from beginning to end. All I can say is she has a thing for abusive men. Granted in Beauty and the Beast, the beast had some anger issues but Reygan’s first and then on going interaction with Aasim (for some chapters) are down right verbally abusive. What really through me for a loop was how she ended up in his home and the exact moment you see her feelings for him change. It was as if someone clicked a switch. I was just shocked in all honesty as to not how easy. . . well how easy it was for her to get a soft side to him.

Other than that the pace of the novel was alright. There was a lot of moving parts, which kept me interested in the book. I wanted more fairy tale aspect to this book and that is really because I am a fantasy reader. I also wanted more description of apperances. The author glimpes over this. There wasn’t enough for me to drool.

Overall, not a bad read. Long but not bad at all. But as previously mentioned the cursing in everyday conversation was a bit too much for me.

2.5 Pickles

Poetry Review: soft magic. by Upile Chisala

Self Published Published Sept. 7, 2015 122 Pages (Kindle)
Self Published
Published Sept. 7, 2015
122 Pages (Kindle)

‘soft magic.’ is the debut collection of prose and poetry by Malawian writer, Upile Chisala. – Goodreads

*Short Review*

I was going to hold off on publishing this review until April. Because you know national poetry month is April but I really wanted to share this with you all because I was stunned by this book.

As a 27-year-old woman, you don’t think that there are things you need to hear or see but as I was reading this book the words hit me hard and I was able to reflect on my experiences without actually feeling as if something went wrong.

I liked how Upile was able to show a softness in her words and at the same time make you feel the strength in them. That is what surprised me the most and even though some passages had a repetitive tone the overall book was amazing and emotional. For me the passages that spoke more about family did more for me then the broken relationships and intimacy. This is not to say that they were not powerful but we are all in different stages in our lives and family had a bigger impact on me.

The poems were not long and drawn out with fluff. But this is not a book in which you can speed through. It took me a little over a week to finish this and I would recommend you to take your time with, honestly as long as you need because this needs to be valued.

Overall,

4 Pickles